Sunday, April 24, 2016
0710-1030 hrs./62-74 degrees F/partly cloudy/light and variable winds to 17 mph wind gusts
It is said that there is a first time for everything, and the highlight of this week was finding a
Neotropic Cormorant on Boomer Lake. This bird is found year round in the southern and
southeast portion of Texas, and can summer in the southernmost sliver of Oklahoma. It migrates
through Oklahoma and can rarely be found slightly north of here.
The Cedar Waxwing has been in the area for quite some time this year, feeding on seeds and berries,
like the mulberry, found commonly in the south. They tried the fruit of the western soapberry tree, but I observed no real interest in it, as it was discarded. Once I had tasted the fruit, which tastes like
soap, so I can understand why it was not ingested.
The White-crowned Sparrow shown here is one of the East Taiga subspecies, which has a pink
Friday, April 22, 2016
Kansas Glossy Snake
55-67 degrees F/partly cloudy/light and variable winds
The first four photos are a carry over from my time spent in the western part of Oklahoma. Sadly,
I was unable to capture a Cassin's Sparrow, which was in the area and the prairie dogs and Burrowing Owls were staying undercover.
Upon my return home, I was still greeted with rain, which came from a front that infiltrated Texas
and western Oklahoma first.
As you can see, I still was able to get some good photos over the past couple of days, which made the wait well worth it. A Neotropic Cormorant has been at Boomer Lake for several days. The Baltimore Oriole and Warbling Vireo are now home as well as one member of my Green Heron family, the eldest. I believe this one is a grandparent, one of the original settlers of the Southern Cove. Last year, that art of the lake hosted two families. So we shall see what this summer brings
The female Gadwall pictured here was all by herself, taking up with an American Wigeon, some Blue-winged Teal, Northern Shovelers, and some American Coot. Observed yesterday was another male Wood Duck, so perhaps he will get used to my presence and maybe I'll be fortunate enough to see some young on the creek.
There are plenty of Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, at least a couple of Orange-crowned Warblers, and at
least one Yellow Warbler on the lake proper. A Common Loon was spotted, which I thought I saw a couple of days ago with a raft of Double-crested Cormorant, but dismissed that thought. I guess I was right after all!
Onward and upward!
Monday, April 18, 2016
Sunday, April 17, 2016
Saturday, April 16, 2016
in lichen nest
Lesser Prairie Chicken
Male Prairie Chicken
Male Prairie Chicken
Thirteen Lined Ground Squirrel
Male Prairie Chicken
Deflated Sac of Displaying
Male Lesser Prairie Chicken
Sac Filled with Air
Displaying and Calling
Territory Face-off Between Two Males
"In Your Face"
Most Likely Owner of this Lek Territory
50-52 degrees F/partly cloudy/27-34 mph winds/45 degrees wind chill
Today was the best of all three days that I was attending the Lesser Prairie Chicken Festival.
It had been extremely arid, so much so that wildfires have been fought all over the dry
grasslands in the OK and TX area. It did not rain today, but it was predicted for tomorrow
and Sunday. Fire is not always negative for these birds, but it isn't particularly helpful at
their critical mating season.
At approximately 0545 hrs., just prior to sunrise, we were set up in a permanent metal
blind and within a half hour, we could hear approaching male Lesser Prairie Chickens
approaching the lek, which is an area where males gather to display to entice prospective
It was most likely that females were on these grounds prior to sunrise, as the males were in a
state of frenzy. No females were on the grounds during daylight, and we saw approximately
ten males. They performed various rituals trying to entice females to come around and were
calling and cackling, as well as fighting with each other for the top position. One male was
the owner of this territory, and was not prepared to give it up.
This is a very rare bird, even in its home states of both Oklahoma and Texas in the arid
grasslands with low shrubs, including sandsage and shin oak, as well as other natural growth.
They form flocks in the winter and may be found in agricultural land as well as natural native
However, humanity is the boon of this beautiful bird, which is rapidly losing ground, due to
oilfields, wind turbines, and construction of homes and businesses. An already rare, local and
declining bird like this will not be available for future generations if we keep taking their homes.
These birds have been a threatened species since March of 2014, and their population decreased
25% from 2014 to 2015 alone. Help me help them through the National Prairie Chicken Initiative
Friday, April 15, 2016
Female Northern Cardinal
Male Wood Duck
These were photos from the first part of the week, Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday. The
sparrows are an assortment, some of whom are current migratory inbounds, like the Lincoln's
and White-throated Sparrows.
The Least Sandpiper was located on the southernmost jetty on the east side, and on the same day,
a couple of Franklin's Gulls and an American Avocet were observed on the west side of the lake,
right across from the first jetty mentioned.
The Wood Ducks surprised me, as I saw two males, and know of one female, who must be with
eggs at this stage. I am hoping that this second male is also paired, both of which were located at
Boomer Creek. A few Blue-winged Teal, a handful of American Coot, a couple of Mallards, and a
Pied-billed Grebe or two are usually out there with the occasional Double-crested Cormorant and
Great Blue Herons, who are also nesting.
There are also Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, Orange-crowned Warblers, and plenty of other birds, including the Osprey, who I hope will say in the area. The creek is very active during this time of year, with many cavity nesters. I have observed the Tufted Titmouse, Carolina Chickadee, and practically all of the woodpeckers working on a cavity of some kind.
Sunday, April 10, 2016
Great Blue Heron
Female Black Swallowtail
0825-1130 hrs./65-75 degrees F/partly cloudy/25-30 mph wind gusts
These shots were from yesterday and today. Even though today had some eventful winds that
actually pushed me backward, it was still a remarkable day for birding. For the first time this
year, the Osprey came to visit. One tends to find Ospreys where eagles reside, so this seems
to show that our American Bald Eagles find this a worthy place in which to live. Since they
still visit the lake, it appears to me that they have young this year, a banner event.
Yesterday, I heard the Marsh Wren on the north side of the lake in the reeds and rushes. It
never came out, but I had noticed something in the grasses in the past. It had been filled with
song yesterday, hence the positive ID on the bird.
Yellow-Rumped Warblers are all over the area, but the Song Sparrows are moving north now. There are still a few hangers-on, and the Savannah Sparrow was recently seen, too. We still have plenty of Harris's and Field Sparrows, AND even though they will soon be covered, we do have at least one breeding pair of Eastern Meadowlarks. It would be nice if they could raise a clutch, but their field usually gets mowed.
Another Scissor-tailed Flycatcher was observed today, and one Cattle Egret was seen just east of
There are at least two broods of Canada Goslings, one of five and another of three young. I was
told that there was a single gosling seen with its parents recently, so there will be more coming.
Killdeer eggs have also been laid, more male Mallards are out and about than females, so the hens
are likely on theirs nests, too.
There had been large rafts of Pied-billed Grebes, Ruddy Ducks, Blue-winged Teal. and Northern Shovelers this morning, but once the wind subsides and they are well-rested, they will be on their way, too.
Let the spring and summer games begin, as we are ready!